SPCA Condemns Retention Of Albany Chooks
26 May 2008
SPCA Condemns Retention Of Albany Chooks But Opposes Shootings
Albany Village Business Association "behaving like a spoiled child"
The Auckland SPCA has reaffirmed its opposition to any free-roaming chickens remaining in Albany Village and the nearby Kell Park, whilst disassociating itself from the recent shooting of some of the few remaining chickens.
In March this year, North Shore City Council's regulatory committee voted to allow a limited number of chickens to remain, under a management plan, to be provided by the Albany Village Business Association (AVBA).
However, council made acceptance of the plan dependent on SPCA agreement. The Society subsequently ruled out acceptance of any such plan as being ineffective in addressing its concerns.
"Our sole interest in this matter was, is and will continue to be the welfare of the chooks themselves," says Auckland SPCA's Chief Executive, Bob Kerridge.
"Fighting cruelty is our business and it is undoubtedly cruel to allow chickens to roam free in and around a busy, modern residential, university and commercial environment, such as Albany has become.
"There have been numerous well-attested reports of quite disgusting acts of human brutality against the chooks, as well as of lethal savagings by dogs. In addition, the birds are vulnerable to being run over by motor vehicles whilst their scavenging-based diet ensures that most of them have permanently poor health status.
"If even a small chicken population is allowed to remain in the area, its numbers can be relied on to mushroom, both as a result of natural increase and because the area will continue to be seen as a dumping ground for unwanted birds.
"In the past, increases in chicken numbers have led to extensive lethal culling campaigns. We believe that it's cruel to retain an animal population in circumstances in which culling is seen as a recurrent need." he says.
Mr Kerridge adds that the SPCA does not endorse the shooting of a small number of birds earlier this month.
"We wholly disassociate ourselves from this action, both because we object in principle to the culling and because there are more humane ways of removing the chooks.
"Over the last three years, the tireless volunteers of Animal Re-homing have found new homes for more than one thousand birds. Given time, they are likely to have succeeded in rounding-up the few remaining chickens and re-homing them," he says.
"We can, however, sympathise with the North Shore City Council's impatience and frustration over this issue. The re-homers have so far been unable to complete their task of saving the chickens, because of the obstructive tactics of a small minority of local people. There also seems to have been an increase in dumping over recent weeks, as controversy over the chooks has flared.
"The AVBA's high profile campaign against removing the birds has been a key factor in preventing the issue being resolved. It is understandable that some local businesses might wish to retain a small chicken population as part of the locality's 'branding'. But, although it is understandable, it is still wrong, as it is the chooks that suffer.
"In our view, the AVBA is behaving like a spoiled child whose toys have been confiscated. But the chooks aren't toys. They are animals that feel and are capable of suffering. The SPCA exists to prevent animal suffering," he adds.